|Saving Legs - Saving Lives - Science Insider
Reported April 2008
ABOUT PAD: Peripheral arterial (PAD) disease is a condition that affects about ten million people in the United States. It often leads to severe blockage in the arteries, particularly in the lower leg. Such blockages reduce blood flow to the legs and feet, increasing the risk of infection, leg ulcers, gangrene and amputation. Those with PAD are also more at risk for other cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
ABOUT STROKES: The brain is made up of living cells that require a constant supply of nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood. Blockage or rupture of the blood vessels that supply parts of the brain cause most strokes. A stroke occurs when brain tissue is deprived of blood and brain cells die from lack of oxygen. Depending on which area of the brain is affected, a stroke can cause vision problems, speech problems, disability, even death. Traditionally, treatment for stroke-causing diseases involves blood-thinning drugs to prevent clots, but for patients with severe blockage, this may not be sufficient. Some temporary blockages last only minutes or hours, resulting in mini-strokes. Mini-strokes are a sign of a serious problem and can lead to a permanent stroke if left untreated.
WHAT CAUSES HEART ATTACKS: Heart attack is the leading cause of death in North and South America and in Europe. It is usually the result of prolonged hardening and narrowing of the arteries that direct blood into the heart. When blood vessels are healthy, oxygen-rich blood flows easily to all the muscles and organs of the body; but if they become clogged by the buildup of fatty deposits on vessel walls, blood can be cut off, killing heart muscle cells. This is called coronary heart disease, and it can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Erin Fairchild, Public Affairs
The Methodist Hospital
Houston, TX 77030
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